J. Space Weather Space Clim.
Volume 7, 2017
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Published online||04 December 2017|
The Maunder minimum and the Little Ice Age: an update from recent reconstructions and climate simulations
Department of Meteorology, University of Reading,
2 ReSoLVE Centre of Excellence and Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, University of Oulu, Finland
3 Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
4 School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
5 National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, UK
6 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 14 November 2017
The Maunder minimum (MM) was a period of extremely low solar activity from approximately AD 1650 to 1715. In the solar physics literature, the MM is sometimes associated with a period of cooler global temperatures, referred to as the Little Ice Age (LIA), and thus taken as compelling evidence of a large, direct solar influence on climate. In this study, we bring together existing simulation and observational studies, particularly the most recent solar activity and paleoclimate reconstructions, to examine this relation. Using northern hemisphere surface air temperature reconstructions, the LIA can be most readily defined as an approximately 480 year period spanning AD 1440–1920, although not all of this period was notably cold. While the MM occurred within the much longer LIA period, the timing of the features are not suggestive of causation and should not, in isolation, be used as evidence of significant solar forcing of climate. Climate model simulations suggest multiple factors, particularly volcanic activity, were crucial for causing the cooler temperatures in the northern hemisphere during the LIA. A reduction in total solar irradiance likely contributed to the LIA at a level comparable to changing land use.
Key words: Space climate / total irradiance / climate / sunspot / climate change
© M.J. Owens et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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